Sarkozy in last-chance bid to have corruption charges dropped

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy today launched a new bid to have corruption charges linked to the financing of his 2007 election campaign dismissed on procedural grounds.

Sarkozy and former budget minister Eric Woerth have both appealed to the Court of Cassation, France’s highest court for civil and criminal matters, to overturn a September 24 ruling by a lower court that key medical evidence in the case was admissible.

Rocket attack kills Syria photojournalist: colleague

A Syrian photojournalist known for his picture of bicyclists on a badly damaged bridge was killed when an army rocket attack erupted while he himself was cycling, a colleague said today.

Murhaf al-Mohdi, who also went by the pseudonym Abo Shuja, had contributed photographs to AFP.

He was cycling back on Saturday from a visit to his parents when regime troops started firing rockets on a neighbourhood of the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, a journalist colleague said.

One rocket hit a building nearby, and the impact threw Mohdi and the camera he was holding off his bike.

Man, parents arrested for wife’s murder

A man, along with his parents, was arrested today for allegedly murdering his 35-year-old wife at Chikkadpally here on Saturday, police said.

J Bala Krishna, his father Chitranjan who is a local Congress activist, and mother Jagadamba, besides his two sisters and brother-in-law were arrested in connection with the murder of J Rajini, they said.

Bala Krishna, who had a relationship with another woman, allegedly killed his wife by slitting her neck with a knife when she was asleep, Chikkadpally police said.

She had been given sleeping pills before the incident, police added.

Obama hails Netanyahu over talks with Palestinians

US President Barack Obama thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today for his “courage” in “good faith” negotiations with the Palestinians on final status issues.

“I commended him for entering into good faith negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. I appreciate the prime minister’s courage in being willing to step forward.”

The talks were relaunched in late July after US Secretary of State John Kerry spent months shuttling back and forth to bring the two sides back to the table.

Israel army shoots 2 Palestinians on Gaza border

The Israeli military says its soldiers have shot two Palestinians who tampered with the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The military said the Palestinians approached the fence today and damaged it, posing an “imminent danger.” The army said “a hit was confirmed” on both, but refused to elaborate.

It was unclear if the Palestinians were militants or civilians.

Palestinian officials in Gaza had no immediate comment on the shooting incident, and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Canada PM urges Egypt to free Canadian hunger strikers

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for the immediate release of two Canadians now on hunger strike after being held in Egypt without charges for six weeks.

But the men could be held for at least another 45 days, a relative of one of the men said yesterday.

John Greyson is a Toronto filmmaker and university professor, while Tarek Loubani is an emergency room doctor from London, Ontario.

Venezuelan president expels three US diplomats

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of three US diplomats, accusing them of plotting with the opposition to sabotage the economy and the power grid.

Maduro said yesterday he instructed Foreign Minister Elias Jaua to throw out the diplomats.

“The officials have 48 hours to leave the country. … Yankees go home,” the leftist leader said in a public address.

Maduro named the diplomats but did not disclose which posts they are holding. A US embassy official contacted by AFP was unable to confirm if they worked there.

Woman college employee sets herself afire in Delhi

A 35-year-old woman employee, a former lab assistant in a college here, today set herself afire in front of Delhi Secretariat protesting alleged physical and mental harassment by the principal and another staff of the college, police said.

According to the police, the woman used to work as a lab assistant at Bhim Rao Ambedkar College in Yamuna Vihar.
She was admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital with 90 per cent burn injuries where her condition is said to be critical.

‘Shinde’s letter to CMs inspired by vote bank politics’: Naidu

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Venkaiah Naidu on Monday criticized Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s letter to state chief ministers not to detain innocent Muslim youth wrongfully, calling it ‘unconstitutional’ and driven by vote bank politics. “The Home Minister has given a directive to the states, which is totally against the Constitution, which is against the democratic principles. It is inspired by vote bank politics, and it is given keeping in mind the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and also state assembly elections,” he said.

Jagan Reddy blames political conspiracy for his imprisonment

YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who was released on bail jail after 16 months, on Monday accused political parties of conspiracy against him, said that his bail was denied, which in turn indicated misuse of state machinery. “This is a political conspiracy, where political parties have gone to the court and political parties have utilized machinery in front of them. A bail which should have been given in three months time was already dragged to sixteen months time,” he told media here today.

Morsi’s PM faces jail term

A court here Monday upheld a one-year sentence of former Egyptian prime minister Hisham Qandil for failing to execute a court ruling, reports said.

Upholding earlier sentence against Qandil for failing to execute a court order directing annulment of a public company’s sale and the reinstatement of its employees, the court said the sentence must now be carried out, Al Jazeera reported.

The case is related to a 2011 court ruling demanding the government repurchase textile company Tanta Flax and Oils from a Saudi Arabian investor who bought it in 2005.

Syria says ‘terrorists’ eat human hearts

Syria’s foreign minister claimed today that his government is fighting a war against al-Qaida-linked militants who eat human hearts and dismember people while they are still alive, then send their limbs to family members.

Walid al-Moallem, addressing world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, also charged that the U.S.,
Britain and France had blocked the naming of the real perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

He claimed “terrorists” fighting the regime in the civil war are being supplied with chemical weapons, but he did not